BY PAUL OBOOHOV
CANBERRA — Protesters gathered outside the Belconnen office of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) on August 20 to call for the freeing of the refugees. Many participants had been shocked by the August 13 ABC Four Corners program, which revealed inhumane conditions at the Villawood refugee detention centre, and the shocking traumatisation of six year old Shayan Badraie.
Phil Griffiths of the Refugee Action Committee pointed out that, despite Four Corners being able to speak with the refugees who recently escaped from Villawood detention centre, DIMA have only found one — who turned himself in. This, Griffiths told the cheering crowd, indicates how much support the refugees have. The crowd shouted its determination to protect escaped refugees.
Socialist Alliance member Stuart Munckton condemned the bipartisan support for mandatory detention of refugees in the concentration camps. Munckton suggested that in order to give Labor's immigration spokesperson Con Sciacca and immigration minister Philip Ruddock some of idea of the plight of the asylum seekers, they should be given a sex change and deported to Taliban ruled Afghanistan.
RAC is organising another demonstration for August 31 at 12.30 at Garema Place.